Going for the Gold!

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Many athletes around the world will be competing this summer in the 2021 Olympics going for gold.  While we look forward to seeing our United States athletes compete, we need to acknowledge that there are other paths to gold.

There is also gold for honor and service, and Ho-Ho-Kus native, Mari Kamidoi achieved that when she earned her Girl Scout Gold Award this year.

Mari began her Girl Scout journey in kindergarten.  From the start, she learned about of being a part of the community and the importance of service to help make a positive difference.  Through the years, Mari learned the value of good self-esteem, inspiring herself and others to realize their potential-that everyone has a voice and a witness to be shared.

Mari, a senior at Northern Highlands High School, began work on her Gold Award project in March 2020, which is the highest award that a Girl Scout can achieve.  Girls who pursue their Gold Award aspire to transform an idea and vision for change into an actionable plan with measurable, sustainable, and far-reaching results. The Gold Award is awarded to fewer than 6% of eligible Girl Scouts annually. Each Gold Award Girl Scout spends 1 – 2 years on her project. Approximately one million Girl Scouts have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent since the inception of the award in 1916.

In the spring of 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, when so many people stopped doing things they love, Mari chose to pursue one of her passions: to participate in helping sustain our environment.  She created a pollinator garden on the grounds of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church.  Mari believes that pollinators are vital to maintaining a healthy ecosystem.  Pollinators rely on native plants that are sustainable without the use of pesticides and by creating a wildflower garden, pollination can occur and help create a healthy environment for all life.

Once completed, the pollinator garden was named as a State of New Jersey Certified Wildlife Habitat. Because of her dedication to the specifics of this project, including design of the garden, reaching out for support and donations as well as creating a website, preservepollinators.com to teach people about the project, Mari truly earned her Gold Award.

Mari’s passion for protecting our environment is also evidenced in the artwork that she creates. After graduating, she will be attending the University of Michigan majoring in art and design.  She believes that through her artwork and witness to the power of protecting the environment she can continue to develop her leadership skills even further and keep going for the gold!